Aura Review: Quick Expert Summary
Aura is a decent antivirus program with good malware detection rates, excellent identity theft protection for US users, and intuitive apps for all major operating systems. It also comes with a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager, but both of these extra features could use some improvement.
Aura’s real-time malware scanner was able to detect and block nearly every malware file during my tests, which means it’s on par with the top antivirus programs in 2022 that scored a 99–100% detection rate in our testing.
For US users, Aura’s identity theft protection suite is excellent — it monitors the dark web for any exposure of your personal information and accounts, scans your bank and financial accounts for suspicious transactions, and even tracks major credit bureaus and sends alerts about changes to your credit score. This service is very similar to Norton 360 with LifeLock (but Norton offers more extra features than Aura for a similar price).
Aura has some good aspects, but it’s far from perfect. Its VPN lacks a kill switch and doesn’t give you the option to manually change your location or connection protocol, and the password manager is also lacking basic features like a password generator, auto-filling, and password sharing. Additionally, Aura’s Android app is just a simple antivirus scanner, and it lacks any internet security protections for iOS (other than the VPN). What’s more, Aura doesn’t have important internet security features that many competitors offer, including a firewall, Wi-Fi network protection, system optimizer, parental controls, and more.
Aura offers 3 plans that offer identity theft protections for 1, 2, or 5 users and antivirus coverage on 10, 20, or 50 devices (by comparison, Norton’s plans only cover 1, 5, or 10 devices). All plans are payable on a monthly or yearly basis, but they’re all pretty expensive when compared to top competitors — but there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee on all of Aura’s annual plans, so there’s no risk in trying it.
|🏅Overall Rank||#14 out of 69 antiviruses|
|🎁 Free Plan||No|
|💵 Pricing||$144.00 / year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||60 days (annual subscriptions only)|
|💻 Operating Systems||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS|
Aura Full Review
Aura is a pretty good antivirus program with a top-notch (US-only) identity theft protection service. It caught the vast majority of malware threats during my testing, but its anti-malware scanner doesn’t offer the same customization options that most other top antivirus competitors provide.
Aura’s wide range of identity theft protection services is really impressive — it monitors bank accounts, credit reports, social security activity (and much more) and will notify you if your identity has been hijacked.
But Aura’s VPN and password manager aren’t great, and it lacks important features like a firewall, Wi-Fi network monitoring, system tune-up tools, and parental controls — competitors like Norton and Bitdefender offer all of these essential extras, and they also cost less than Aura.
Aura Security Features
Aura’s anti-malware scanner offers real-time malware detection and on-demand scans, and it’s able to detect malware just as well as the top competitors. It uses a huge database of known malware, but it doesn’t provide advanced heuristic or machine learning to detect newer malware variants (like Norton and Bitdefender).
Aura offers 3 different methods for manually scanning your computer:
- Quick Scan — Scans folders where viruses and malware are often found, like system files and temporary files.
- Full Scan — Scans every file and folder on your device.
- Custom Scan — Choose specific files or folders to scan.
To test the anti-malware scanner, I downloaded a database of nearly 1,000 test files, including spyware, trojans, viruses, and ransomware on a PC running Windows 10. Aura was able to detect about 98% of the test files I downloaded, which is almost as good as the top Windows antiviruses in 2022, which can all detect close to 100% of malware files.
Aura’s on-demand scanner scored similar malware detection ratings on my Mac, but its real-time protection wasn’t very good in my testing (Mac users should check out Intego, which has the best Mac antivirus scanner of 2022.
My main complaint is that you can’t schedule scans ahead of time — Aura’s scanner slowed my computer down somewhat during my tests, so I’d much rather be able to schedule my full disk scans to run while I’m asleep or not using my computer. Aura doesn’t provide scan logs, either, which makes it hard to track security trends and issues on your device. All of the top antivirus products include scan scheduling and scan logs, so I was pretty annoyed by Aura’s lack of this basic functionality.
Overall, Aura’s antivirus protection is really good — its malware detection rates are comparable with the best antivirus competitors (although its macOS protections need work). However, I don’t like being unable to schedule scans or access scan logs. But Aura’s antivirus scanner detected the vast majority of malware in my testing, so it’s still a decent choice for anti-malware protection.
WiFi Security (VPN)
Aura offers a simple VPN for Android, iOS, and Windows. It’s a good VPN for encrypting your internet activity and masking your true location, but it’s nowhere near as good as the top VPNs on the market.
It doesn’t give you any options to change your location, and it doesn’t include a kill switch to protect your data from leaking in case your connection to the VPN server disconnects. These are basic, industry-standard features that all the best VPNs on the market include.
Aura isn’t good for streaming content outside of the country you’re currently located in (because you can’t choose your location), but it performed decently in my domestic streaming tests — I was able to log into my US Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts with Aura, but I wasn’t able to access Hulu or Disney+. If you want a really good streaming VPN, check out our top choices for all popular streaming sites here.
It allows torrenting, but I wouldn’t use Aura’s VPN for torrenting — without a kill switch, your ISP is likely to detect your torrenting activity if there are any VPN server connection issues (which are pretty common).
Aura’s WiFi Security VPN also blocks suspicious websites like those that attempt to phish for your personal data. I tested multiple known phishing links to determine the efficacy of this feature and the VPN was able to detect and block them all.
In terms of speed, Aura’s VPN is really good. VPNs route your traffic through an encrypted server before sending it to its destination, which inherently slows the connection speed. But in my tests, Aura’s VPN was incredibly fast, and my connection speed was barely reduced at all.
First I ran a speed test without connecting to the VPN in order to determine my base connection speed:
Then I connected the VPN and ran another speed test:
My ping (the time it takes for the request to reach the VPN server) was definitely slower, but my connection speed only decreased by about 3%. I was able to stream 4K videos without buffering, load content-heavy sites like Instagram, and even download a 5 GB torrent file in around 20 minutes, which is decent.
Overall, Aura’s VPN is good for encrypting your browsing activity, has fast speeds, and allows torrenting. It does, however, have some major drawbacks, like the inability to change your location, and it’s missing essential security features like a kill switch. If you’re looking for a high-quality and feature-rich VPN, check out our list of the best VPNs in 2022.
Identity Theft Protection (US Only)
Aura’s suite of identity theft protection services is an exceptional tool for monitoring your personal information and financial accounts, but it’s only available to US-based customers. This identity theft protection suite can only be accessed from Aura’s online dashboard, not through the Aura desktop app. The online interface is pretty easy to use, though, so I didn’t find this too inconvenient.
Aura’s ID theft protection includes:
- Credit monitoring and an annual credit report — Gives monthly reports from all 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and allows you to lock and unlock your credit file to prevent unwanted inquiries. It also views reports from all 3 credit bureaus.
- Bank monitoring — Monitors your bank accounts and alerts you of any suspicious spending.
- Data protection — Submits removal requests to data brokers that collect and sell your personal data, protecting you from unwanted advertising and robocalls.
- Dark web monitoring — Monitors dark web websites, forums, and chat rooms and alerts you anytime your personal information is exposed.
- Social Security monitoring — Alerts you anytime a new bank, credit, or utility account is opened using your identity.
- Online account monitoring — Alerts you if your online accounts have been compromised. Aura can only monitor accounts you have registered through Aura’s ID theft dashboard.
- Lost wallet remediation — If you lose your wallet, Aura helps you secure your credit cards, bank accounts, and IDs to help protect against identity theft.
- Home title and address monitoring — Helps protect against someone attempting to steal your home title or filing a change of address to steal your mail.
- Criminal and court record monitoring — Notifies you if your identity is used or mentioned in police, court, or other legal proceedings.
- 401K and investment account monitoring — Monitors the dark web and alerts you if your financial accounts have been exposed.
- Dedicated fraud resolution agents — If you fall victim to fraud, US-based dedicated agents will help you recover your identity and assets.
I really like that Aura’s identity theft protection includes an insurance policy (up to $5 million) to cover expenses incurred from identity theft. The insurance policy only covers expenses within the US, but it includes lost wages, elder, spousal, and child care costs, travel expenses, accountant costs, and legal fees (legal fees must be approved before being covered).
Overall, Aura’s identity theft protection is really good. I like how many types of personal information it monitors, and I appreciate the fact that personal agents will help you recover losses and close your accounts in the event of your information being stolen and used. That said, top competitors like Norton offer a similar level of protection for cheaper.
Aura’s password manager is frustratingly basic — it doesn’t offer the same features or functionality as any of the top standalone password managers in 2022. It allows you to store the usernames and passwords of your online accounts to help ensure you don’t forget them, but that’s about it.
Aura doesn’t even include auto-filling (meaning you have to manually open Aura’s password vault and copy-paste logins from your vault into your browser). Most password managers offer a small icon in a website’s login fields, so you can log in with a single click — 1Password and Dashlane even give you the option to automatically enter logins for saved sites with zero clicks (the password manager enters your information the moment you open a webpage).
The password manager is also missing important features like a strong password generator, password sharing, biometric logins, password vault auditing, and 2-factor authentication (2FA). There are free password managers (like Avira Password Manager) that are far more useful and convenient than Aura’s password manager.
Aura has a browser extension for Chrome and an Android app, but it’s just a menu that shows your saved logins. Since it doesn’t provide auto-filling, password generation, or any other additional features, it didn’t impress me very much.
Overall, Aura’s password manager is pretty useless. It doesn’t include any of the features that make password managers helpful and secure, but at least it allows you to store your passwords so you don’t forget them.
Aura Plans and Pricing
Aura offers 3 plans, but the only difference between them is the number of users and devices they support. All of Aura’s plans include the same antivirus, VPN, and password manager features. But the more expensive plans offer antivirus and VPN coverage for more devices, and they offer identity theft protections for more users (they also include increased insurance payouts) — note that Aura’s identity theft protections are only for US residents.
Competitors like Norton and Bitdefender offer a lot more features with their plans for less money. While Aura offers coverage on a massive amount of devices (up to 50 devices on the Family plan), it’s hard to imagine a family needing antivirus coverage for 50 separate devices.
All of Aura’s plans offer monthly or yearly payment options, but only Aura’s annual plans include a 60-day money-back guarantee (there’s no money-back guarantee for the monthly plans).
Aura’s Individual plan offers comprehensive identity theft protections for 1 person, as well as antivirus and VPN coverage on up to 10 devices for $144.00 / year. This is Aura’s most affordable plan, and it’s great for users that only want to protect their own information from identity theft.
The Individual plan also provides a $1 million insurance policy for identity-theft related damages — this is comparable to Norton’s 360 with LifeLock Select plan, but Norton offers better antivirus protection, better internet security tools, and much better mobile apps than Aura, all for a lower price.
But if you’re in the US and you want a good antivirus and excellent identity theft protections, Aura Individual is a solid choice.
The Couple plan ($264.00 / year) offers all of the same features as Aura Individual, but it extends identity theft protections to 2 people, increases the amount of ID theft insurance to $2 million, and offers antivirus and VPN coverage on up to 20 devices.
I don’t know a lot of couples that need antivirus protection on 20 devices, but it’s pretty cool that Aura is so generous with its coverage — Norton’s mid-tier plans only cover 5 devices, which can be pretty limiting for some users.
Overall, Aura Couple is a great choice for US-based couples that want antivirus protection on their Windows devices and a comprehensive real-time identity theft protection service.
Aura’s Family plan covers up to 5 users, adds child social security number monitoring to its identity theft protections, and offers up to $5 million in insurance payouts for identity theft victims.
Aura Family also includes VPN and antivirus coverage for a whopping 50 devices, which should be far more than sufficient for most families. It costs $444.00 / year, which is a lot more expensive than Norton’s LifeLock family plan.
I’ll be honest — given that children don’t have personal finances, I don’t think kids need identity theft protection. But for families that want to keep their information as secure as possible (and have children with a lot of personal information online), Aura Family is one of the best antivirus + identity theft protection services out there for parents.
Aura Ease of Use and Setup
Aura provides a super minimal app with a clean interface for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Installation and setup only took about 5 minutes on my Windows PC. After logging into my Aura account and navigating to the downloads page, I simply selected my operating system and downloaded the installer. Once installed, Aura automatically started my first full scan, and any time the app updated, it ran another full scan automatically.
Aura has a clean look — you can turn on the VPN and enable real-time malware protection from the home screen. The sidebar on the left side of the screen allows you to access controls for the antivirus scanner, VPN, and Aura’s settings. However, none of Aura’s controls provide a lot of options.
In the antivirus window, you can pick from 3 different scan types, and you can whitelist safe files in the malware scanner’s settings. But that’s about it.
Aura doesn’t let you schedule malware scans, adjust real-time protections, or look at previous scan logs. Competitors like Avira allow you to look through previous scan logs, schedule various malware scans, adjust anti-phishing protections, and much more.
Besides that, the app’s settings are very minimal, allowing you to decide if Aura opens on startup, whether or not Aura can give you notifications, and whether the VPN should automatically connect if your device connects to an unsafe network like a public Wi-Fi hotspot — and that’s it.
Aura’s desktop app also doesn’t include the password vault or identity theft protections, and the VPN barely has any customization options. Competitors like Norton and Avira incorporate most of their features in a single intuitive app.
Overall, Aura’s desktop app is decent, but there’s lots of room for improvement. It’s missing many of the features included with your Aura account, it doesn’t provide many basic customization options, and the app only includes the antivirus and VPN features. However, the interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, and I never had any problems or experienced any glitches during my tests.
Aura Mobile App
Aura’s mobile apps are very simple and easy to use, but they aren’t as good as top competitors like Norton and McAfee. The antivirus mobile app is Android-only, whereas the Aura’s WiFi Security VPN is available for both Android and iOS.
Aura’s antivirus Android app is incredibly easy to use because of its simplicity. It’s a simple malware scanner with no additional features. You can press the big scan button on the main screen to start a manual scan of all the files on your smartphone, and you don’t have any other options.
Scanning my Android phone only took about 5 minutes, and it detected almost all of the files I downloaded to test its mobile scan. This is a decent malware detection rating, but not as good as the 100% malware detection scores achieved by competitors like Norton and Bitdefender.
Aura’s VPN is extremely minimalistic, which makes it easy to use and navigate, but there are no features to use — you can’t even manually choose your own server. If you’re looking for a quality Android or iOS VPN, ExpressVPN is hands-down the best.
It would be nice to see Aura combine its antivirus and VPN apps into a single app like TotalAV does, and include additional features like app scanning, privacy monitors, anti-theft tools, a password manager, and parental controls (which all of the best Android antivirus apps provide).
Beyond its VPN’s browser protections, Aura antivirus doesn’t offer any iOS security tools, so I recommend iOS users check out our list of the best antiviruses for iPhones and iPads — the best iOS security apps like Norton and TotalAV provide additional features like SMS scam filters, parental controls, location tracking, secure browsers, and more.
However, if you’re looking for a super minimal antivirus scanner and VPN for Android and iOS, you can check out Aura.
Aura Customer Support
Aura offers customer support via phone and email, and there’s an FAQ section, but the only good support channel is the phone line. Aura’s phone support is available 24 hours per day, but it’s only available in English.
I contacted email support multiple times, and it always took nearly 24 hours to receive a response. When I did get a reply, it simply said to call the phone support. This is unacceptable, and I would expect to be able to use email support instead of being forced to call the phone line every time I have a simple question about the service. Top competitors like Norton and McAfee have support teams that reply to email requests within a few hours, and they actually answer user questions.
When I called and talked to customer support over the phone, the representatives were always knowledgeable and really friendly. I called at different times of the day and once at 3am and was always immediately connected with a very helpful representative.
Aura also has an FAQ page that includes some answers that are simple, while others go into great detail. But Aura’s FAQ doesn’t come close to Norton’s in-depth FAQ page, which includes video tutorials and even an active community forum.
Overall, Aura’s 24/7 phone support is really good, but that’s the only good method of contacting the company — the email support is practically useless and they don’t provide live web chat. Aura’s FAQ is pretty helpful for basic questions but doesn’t include video instructions or user forums like top competitors — however, Aura’s English-speaking users will really appreciate being able to get a hold of a live phone support person 24 hours a day.
Is Aura Worth the Cost?
Aura’s powerful antivirus scanner and excellent identity theft protections are definitely a good value, but its VPN and password manager aren’t great, and it’s missing many of the features included with the top antivirus suites in 2022.
Aura’s identity theft protections are also very good. They scan credit reports, dark web sources, court proceedings, bank statements, and much more to immediately notify users if any of their personal information is being used without their consent. Norton LifeLock provides a similar set of protections — like Norton, all of Aura’s plans are covered by at least a $1M insurance policy (and up to $5M) to help cover expenses in the event of your identity being stolen.
However, Aura has some major drawbacks that I can’t ignore. Its password manager is pretty bad, its VPN is pretty basic (and lacks a kill switch and doesn’t let you pick your server), its mobile app only comes with an antivirus scanner for Android, and it’s missing important features like a firewall, Wi-Fi network protection, parental controls, and convenient antivirus scan scheduling tools (which competitors like Norton provide).
Aura offers 3 different plans that only differ in how many users it covers and how many devices it supports for the antivirus and VPN. However, all of the plans cost more than most competing antivirus plans. All of the annual plans come with a 60-day money back guarantee.
Aura Antivirus with VPN Review — Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a free version of Aura?
No, Aura doesn’t provide a free version of any of its services or apps, but it does have a 60-day money-back guarantee for the annual plans, which gives you plenty of time to try it and see if it’s right for you.
Aura has a number of tiered plans offering different levels of identity and credit monitoring. All of Aura’s paid plans include the antivirus feature as well as Aura’s VPN and password manager.
Is Aura a good antivirus?
Aura’s anti-malware scanner is good at detecting malware, viruses, trojans, and more, but it’s not as good as the top antiviruses in 2022 — using its huge database of known threats, Aura was able to detect around 98% of the test files I used. This is pretty good, but top antiviruses like Norton 360 and Bitdefender have perfect detection rates, include more features, and offer a better value.
Does Aura’s antivirus work for Android and iOS devices?
Aura only offers a basic antivirus scanner for Android, and its VPN is available for both Android and iOS.
Will Aura slow down my device?
Maybe, but only during full disk antivirus scans. I had some slowdown while watching HD YouTube videos during a full disk scan, but other than that, my devices ran perfectly well with Aura installed. Only cloud-based antivirus programs like Bitdefender can run a full disk scan without any system slowdown. Aura doesn’t provide any system cleanup tools, and there are way better options for gamers that want an unobtrusive antivirus option.